An Essay by Franko B inspired by the Marina Abramović performance, The Artist is Present (2010).

I Was (Not) Present

The artist (as a construct/persona) was present, but the person was not.
Can the artist be present?
And what does performance have to do with it?
Is it performance, or merely spectacle?
Can one teach presence?
Or: how to make a performance?


It was a Sunday morning in London on an August day in 2013, and I kept thinking about Marina Abramović’s performance, The Artist is Present. On and off, this event has being following me. Maybe, in my mind there are obvious reasons why.

This work has met a strong media interest (reviews, documentaries, etc.), and after three years it still apparently inspires artists like Jay Z and Lady Gaga. What follows here is my understanding and personal critique of the concept/idea of being present, expanding on my personal thoughts regarding the performance, The artist is present, which Marina Abramović originally performed at MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art) in New York in 2010.


Stitched drawings (wool on paper).
42 x 59.4 cm each.
Franko B 2014.